What may be one of God’s true fineries

 

If you have ever seen okra, it looks like an angry pea pod or even a fuzzy bean. When cut open it is sticky and kinda weird. However this vegetable is unique because in my opinion it can be prepared only one real way. *mind you this is the only way I have ever had it*…Fry it. Fried foods are my weakness. However since we have once lonely okra plant in the garden, it begs to be fried. Here is a recipe that I made tonight and I eat as I type this….amazing…

Ingredients

Directions

Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet or Dutch oven to 350 degrees F. (You may not need to use this much oil; do not fill the pan more than halfway up the sides with oil.)

In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, salt, garlic,  pepper,  and cayenne pepper. Dip okra in buttermilk and then dredge in cornmeal-flour mixture to coat well. Carefully add okra to the hot oil and cook until golden brown. (It may be necessary to fry the okra in batches.) Remove from oil, drain on paper towels, and then serve immediately.

Paula Deen, thank you so much.

Caramelized Onion Sauce Over Pasta

I got this recipe out of the Moosewood cookbook. It is an amazing cookbook for vegetarians. I am not however a vegetarian but instead a dedicated omnivore. I eat whatever sounds good, looks good, and even things that might be questionable. I love caramelized onions but I have never done it in this quantity before. I tweaked the recipe as usual to suit what we had in the house.

Ingredients:

  • 1⁄2 colive oil
  • 6 c spring onions, chopped
  • 1⁄2 t salt
  • 1 c dry white whine
  • 1⁄4 lb arugula or spinach, stemmed and minced
  • 1 c feta or chevre cheese
  • 3⁄4 lb penne or fusili pasta
  • 1 c chopped walnuts, toasted
  •  parmasean to top

Heat olive oil in a large skillet or saute pan. Add onions, and saute over medium heat for 10-15 minutes. Add salt, lower heat, and cook for 10 minutes. Add white wine, turn heat back up to medium, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.

Start boiling water for pasta. Add chopped greens to onion sauce, stir and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in crumbled cheese, and turn heat to low while pasta cooks.

After cooked pasta is drained add it to the sauce, and stir briefly in pan before serving. Sprinkle with walnuts and parmasean, and serve.

_________________

I didn’t have any arugula, so I had some mustard greens that my best friend brought from her garden. I also didn’t use a half cup of olive oil but instead a tsp on bacon grease from this morning’s breakfast sandwiches. I don’t ever use a half cup of olive oil for anything except for bath products. I also didn’t have white wine so I was forced to use red. It doesn’t taste the same but it was either that or tequila….not an option :D.

 

Verdict:

I thought this was very very good. I didn’t like the mustard greens because they were weird but after picking the majority of them out, I was able to enjoy the rest of the meal. Wonderful.

For a variation of the recipe, the picture above came from http://www.trinigourmet.com/index.php/caramelized-onion-sauce/

New Dehydrator New Possibilities

So my mother and only neighbor just bought a dehydrator which I am to share with her. This is an industrial size commercial dehydrator and it has something like 6 very large trays. I have always loved the machines because they make one of the most delicious primal things: jerky. However, my mother brought out a thing from my past that I had forgotten and never realized that I love. As a child we had a smaller dehydrator that somehow got lost in a move or broke or something…not sure. Anyways, when we had the thing, we would make jerky by the lb and for some reason my mother always thought to make dried tomatoes. I always thought they were weird and tasteless (I probably never actually ate them).
On a trip today with my father, he produced a small tinfoil satchel of jerky for me as well as a pouch of the small dried red chip like creations my mother had spent all night on. I tenatively reached in and popped half of one in my mouth. I must not have ever tried them because what I got was a flavorful crunchy and mouthwatering treat. I was fascinated by these simple little creations. All they were was roma tomatoes, salt and pepper that had somehow dried up into a concentrated burst of tomato flavor. They were amazing enough that I was more saddened by the end of the package of tomato than I was of the end of the package of jerky. By the end of the day, I have probably eaten 10 tomatoes which all in all is not bad but also not great. I cannot make a habit of this but I have also just bought a huge bag of roma tomatoes for my mother to dry. I am getting so excited for more!

Going a little Thaiwaiian

1 1/4 cups chicken stock or broth
1 (14- to 15-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
1 chicken leg (10 to 12 ounce), cut into drumstick and thigh and skin discarded
1 stalk fresh lemongrass, 1 or 2 tough outer leaves discarded and root end trimmed
1 (2- by 1 1/2-inch) piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced
1 small (1 1/2- to 2-inch) dried chile (preferably Thai), halved lengthwise and seeds discarded

This recipe is from Epicurious.com and it is only slightly modified by me. I cut up a whole chicken so that I would have left overs and then did the sauce according to the recipe.

I used a mixture of Thai seasonings which were the same as the ones in the recipe but they came out of a nice neat tube from the Produce section of the grocery store. This is a convienient way of doing this because they are fresher and it stays in the fridge for a week or two after opening. I added a touch of soy sauce to my chicken broth because it makes it perfect.
I added some onion and some extra garlic to the sauce before adding the chicken.
I cooked the chicken slowly in the sauce after searing it in the pan and it was fall off the bone tender.

I made some rice to add to the meal and sauteed up some swiss chard as well as some beet greens. It was a fully satisfying meal. I loved the chicken. It was sweet with a really light coconut flavor. Fantastic and I will be making this again.

Lemon Feta Chicken with Acini de Pepe Pasta and Spinach

So I love Rotissere chicken that you buy at the store. It is a quick chicken meal that I can pick up and throw something together at the house. I don’t buy them often because it seems extravagant but when it comes down to it, you can’t buy and roast a chicken most of the time for that price.
I had most of a chicken left over from a night or so ago and I wanted to use it before it went bad so I came up with this.

Ingredients:
1 or most of one whole roasted chicken
1 cup acini de pepe or couscous or small pasta
1-2 cups washed spinach
1/2 juice lemon
1/2 cup feta cheese *reduced fat for us*
Basil fresh or dried
Either greek seasonings or use a mixture of the following
lemon pepper, basil, rosemary, small bits of lavender, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme and oregano
green onions small bunch cut down to the whites
Cucumbers scored with a fork cut into slices
Mustard

I shredded the chicken, took all the bones and skin and threw them into a pot of water with the bottom parts of the green onion and basil. Pesto also works well for this because it has other flavors in it such as the pine nuts and parmesean that add a depth to the broth you will make out of this mixture. When you have boiled it down you will use this stock to cook your pasta or couscous with. This not only uses the entire bird but the pieces of the vegetables as well. Your pasta or couscous will be more flavorful for it.

Once you have the broth set aside, you take your shredded chicken and mix it with the lemon juice, herbs, mustard, salt, pepper, and the feta. Place this mixture in the oven to allow the chicken to reheat and the feta to melt a bit. 350 degrees for about 20 min should do. It might even take less time depending on how much chicken you have left over.
Steam your spinach lightly but not thoroughly.

Once everything is cooked, to plate it, you place a bed of the spinach down and place your cucumber on one side. Get a round implement so that you can form the pasta into a round cake like shape. Place your chicken on the top just spilling over a bit and place some of the green onion on top for color.

Enjoy.

Sauteed Radishes

So I came across this while perusing Epicurious on my phone (Yes I love food so much that I look up recipes for fun.). The full recipe was for sauteed mustard chicken and sauteed radishes. I made the whole recipe cause I love mustard and never thought to cook radishes. the mustard chicken turned out good. It was colorful and delicious. I should have cooked it alittle longer to make it more tender but we were both hungry so it was a little tougher than I like. The taste was good. The sauteed radish part was new and interesting to me.

I will be completely honest. I do not like raw radishes. I think they taste like peppery raw potatoes which makes me gag a little bit. I have never understood how people can eat slices of raw potato. Ew. Anyways, I digress.

Cooked radishes taste a lot like a mixture of potato and a hint of squash. they loose a lot of the white color as the reddish color of the skins permeates the rest of the vegetable.

I found that in the end of it all, I still do not like radishes. They left a chalky film on my teeth which I hated and it made my stomach feel weird.

This was the recipe I used but didn’t realize that I could eat the greens so I didn’t cook them.

4 bunches radishes, washed & quartered
2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
salt

1 Heat butter in fry pan.
2 Add radishes and salt.
3 Saute until crispy.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

So I have begun to blog once again about the topic of my life. Food. I took some time off because of personal issues and the lack of time. I hope to be back blogging about what makes me soooo very happy.

I am making tonight a version of chicken and Dumplings. It is from the website http://crockpot365.blogspot.com. I love this website because it has a years worth of recipes that are all for the slow cooker. I have never used a slow cooker much so I am excited to try many of these recipes.

So the recipe is thus.

–3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken (I used frozen thighs)
–1 yellow onion, chopped
–1 cup mushrooms, chopped (I used baby portabellas)
–16 ounces frozen vegetables

–2 cans cream-of-something soup, or combine in a saucepan:
4 T butter
6 T flour (I used Pamela’s baking mix)
1 cup milk (I used soy)
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp poultry seasoning

–1 can refrigerated biscuits, or one batch drop biscuits (I used Pamela’s Baking Mix, and used the drop-biscuit recipe listed on the back of the bag)

The Directions.

I used a 6.5 quart crockpot. Anything 4 quarts and up will work. Put the chicken and vegetables into the bottom of the crockpot. Add the cream-of soups, or your homemade substitute. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4-5. I cooked ours on high for 4 hours, and on low for another two. An hour before serving, shred chicken with two large forks, and drop in the biscuit dough.

Cover and cook on high for another hour. The bisquits are done when you can insert a knife and it comes out clean. They will be spongey and will brown a bit on the sides and top.

Serve in bowls, with a biscuit or two per person.

I adjusted it a little because I was trying to keep it healthier. I omitted the 6 tbs of flour because if it is a little watery, I am ok with that. I only used two large chicken breasts cause these chickens have mammary glands like Dolly Parton. SUPER SIZED. I added a little fresh rosemary from my garden and a bit more garlic cause it is me after all. I eat garlic like most people eat salsa. It is in everything I cook. I also used fresh veggies rather than frozen. My last edition to this recipe was the use of the heart healthy (0 trans fats) Bisquick. I will make the drop bisquits and then set them on top so that they are crispy and delicious but will soak up the goodness on the bottom.

My own Verdict:

This was a wonderful way of doing this dish. It is really flavorful and it is super easy. You can adjust it easily with other vegetables or less as you have a taste for whatever. You can jazz it up with simple things like basil instead of rosemary or dill which goes famously with chicken. The biscuits or dumplings can be easily tampered with as well. All in all it was fantastic.

VACATION

Still here. just taking some much needed R&R. I am setting up the new garden this up coming week so soon new recipes and veggies will be up 😀

Barbeque Beef and Bean Sandwiches

So I have been following an older blog in which a woman used a crock pot every day for a year. This means I do not have to buy a cookbook because I have been threatened with divorce if I bought another cookbook. Thus, I will be testing out her recipes on part of my blog. Her website is: http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/ and she not only has written a cookbook of her own, she was featured in Rachael Ray.

This is her recipe for Barbeque Beef and Bean Sandwiches. I will be changing it up a bit to make it my own

CrockPot Barbecue Beef and Bean Sandwiches

Day 265!

Only 100 days to go. Except for that it’s leap year.

Becky from Michigan emailed me her Cowboy Beef n Bean recipe to try. We really enjoyed it! She serves her shredded meat on hamburger buns or sandwich rolls, but I put ours on some lightly salted rice cakes. The meat is tender and juicy, and tastes great over rice the next day.

This is super easy—you probably already have all the ingredients in the house already!

The Ingredients.

–3 pound chuck roast *H Variation: I used a london broil*
–1 yellow onion, sliced in rings *H Variation: I minced my onions*
–3 cloves chopped garlic
–1 can (16.5 oz) barbecue baked beans
–2 T water
–1/4 cup prepared barbecue sauce (this wasn’t in the picture, because I needed to go get some, and wanted the meat to start cooking)
–cheese, optional
–jalapeno slices, optional
–*H variation: I also added a Sweet Mesquite spice to my meat as well as a Lawry’s Seasoning Salt*

The Directions.

You will need at least a 4 quart crockpot for this meal.

All I did was run the meat under hot water to separate it from the plastic bag. I plopped it into the crockpot, and turned it on low to begin to warm while I cut the onion and garlic. After I added them, I poured the contents of the bean can over the meat. Although Becky didn’t, I added about 2 T of water to the bean can and squished it around with a fork to get the remaining beans and bbq slime.

Add barbecue sauce.

Cover and cook on low for 8-12 hours, or until meat shreds easily with a fork. I plugged our meat in at 5 am (I know. I was up early.) and we ate it 12 hours later.

Serve on rolls, buns, rice cakes, or over rice. Add slices of your favorite cheese and sliced jalapenos.

Slooow Cooker time. Testing out some new recipes

So after a haitus with this blog after dealing with some stuff at home, I am trying to get back into the swing of things as far as house work and cooking. Back to work now and I don’t know how I did it before because it seems like I have forgotten how to organize my time. So to get my brain back into the mundane of housewifery, I will break out the crock pot to help me on my way back to my culinary path.

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